I’ve recently been fortunate to be added to the team of strike off sewists for Blended Thread Fabrics. Hollie is the owner and she has been on the Canadian custom fabric scene long enough to have really carved out a niche for herself with a unique style that I just love. Strike off sewing means that I receive a sample of fabric to sew up to help promote the fabric for sale. As most of my makes are plus size for myself and my husband, I do purchase additional yardage most of the time. So yes, while I do receive some discount on the fabric, I also have been purchasing from her for a LONG time because her business model and the quality is just so reliably fantastic. Fair warning – there’s a lot of pictures in this post because I just felt so amazing in this dress and we had beautiful weather and backdrop for our photoshoot. My husband Dave, as always, is the talented photographer behind the camera.
When I was assigned the patina geo on bamboo jersey, I knew I absolutely wanted to make the DIBY Rosa dress in a maxi length. I’ve been eyeing the Rosa for some time, and have actually had the pattern for quite a while. I’m still figuring out if I prefer gathered skirts or circle skirts. I think both have their place, but I think I might be leaning towards gathered.
The Rosa is originally a dolman bodice with scoop neck and a gathered crossover skirt with a bit of a tulip/cocoon shape. The skirt back is supposed to be seamed to add more shape. I made the original pattern first to test it out with a synthetic dress knit from my local Fabricland. I did however decide that rather than making a seam at the back of the skirt, I opted to cut on the fold and add a waist dart.
The second thing I really wanted to try was a crossover v-neck front so that it looked like a wrap dress. I used the front bodice piece and used my hip curve to draw a smooth swooping curve. I brought the curve to the notches on the bodice where the skirt panels attach. My finished pattern piece looked something like this.
I’m really happy with how it turned out. I don’t think I made the neck band long enough. You can see in some pictures that it is pulling quite taut and causing the bodice to gather along the neckline which wasn’t my intent. I wasn’t quite sure what length ratio to go with as bamboo in general has lots of stretch and tends to grow a little but. But this bamboo has quite good recovery so I think I need to add more length. When I have a chance, I’ll unpick this neckband and use the copper patina coordinate I bought a few rounds ago to make a new neckband. I was trying to balance as well that I didn’t want this neckline to gape open at all. That is so frustrating to me when you are constantly trying to cover up your bra! One of the reasons I want to make my own clothes is that I am not tugging at ill-fitting garments all evening.
I also feel that the waistband elastic is a bit too snug. I’m not sure what I was thinking when I measured it, but it was obvious right away that it was way too wavy. My first version has a perfect length of elastic, so I’ll measure it and put that same length on this one. Unfortunately the wedding was in two days and out of town, so I just had too many other things on my plate to get done. I’ll put the longer waistband elastic in when I take off the neckline. I also ran out of fabric and had to add a seam to the back bodice – gah! The geo design has so much depth and detail though, so it’s very forgiving for seams – they somewhat disappear into the design. Even with the minor changes I need to make, this dress was absolutely DREAMY to wear in the heat and humidity of Leamington, Ontario.
When I have a chance to get some better photos of the knee length Rosa that I made as my wearable muslin, I’ll do a full pattern review and explain the normal custom fit adjustments I have to make and talk about the sizing and pattern in general. But I can say this, it’s a fantastic pattern and drafted well for plus sizes. I’m wearing a 24 bust graded to a 28 hip, with a large bicep adjustment. This is the size I always make in DIBY patterns and I know it fits me well. The plus size block was meant for my body, hurrah!
Have you ever tried to work bamboo? It’s definitely not one of the easiest fabrics that I’ve encountered. When serging the seams I found it really helped to support the weight of the rest of the garment and let the serger just pull the fabric through by itself. I also made sure I did a few tests on scrap piece to perfect the tension, differential feed, and loopers. But hemming, well that was a whole other ball game. I tried to hem it on my coverstitch, but I just really wasn’t happy with how it looked. Even when I got the tensions all correct and eliminated the tunnelling, it just didn’t seem the right way to finish off the fabric. And so, I tried fusible knit hem tape for the first time. I don’t actually remember buying it, so I don’t know when I came across it. However, I found a roll in my sewing room and decided to give it a go.
WOW! I have to say, this is definitely my new favourite way to hem those really drapey knits that don’t want to cooperate. You do have to use a cotton pressing cloth if you are working with a synthetic or else you will melt your garment. But on the bamboo, it was great. Especially as this hemline is reallllly long since it includes the back of the skirt and two long gathered front pieces – and of course, it’s one long smooth curve. What do you think? I’m absolutely stoked with how it turned out. It also defines the edge just enough to emphasize the design of the dress when made in this busy fabric design.
So there you go, if you haven’t heard of Blended Thread Fabrics, she’s a great Canadian small business retailer and I’m happy to be part of her sewing team. She has lots of other fabric bases aside from bamboo, and I’ll share those fabrics as I get them sewn up. And if you haven’t tried the DIBY Rosa dress, give it a try too. There is even a top length that I think I’ll have to sew up for my fall wardrobe!
You can check out the pattern here: Do it Better Yourself – Rosa Tulip Dress and Top. This is an affiliate link, which means I make a small commission on your purchase. Thanks for taking the time to read this post. Have a lovely week!